MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C --
Fifth Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, will be disbanding later this year due to the ongoing plan to draw down the size of the Marine Corps. However, unit leaders are continuing to train and prepare their Marines for future assignment with other units after the battalion’s deactivation.
Battery T recently took the time to refresh Marines’ skills with the M240-B machine gun, since the battery will be the Ground Combat Element for Africa Partnership Station 2012.
“For Marines the training should never stop,” said 1st Sgt. Jose Guerreiro, the first sergeant for Battery T, who is now serving as the first sergeant for the GCE for Africa Partnership Station 2012. “Many of the Marines with (Battery T) are going to deploy with APS (later this year). We're doing this training to make sure that the Marines are still proficient with the weapon and to start getting their minds focused on the kind of role they'll have with APS.”
Africa Partnership Station 2012 is part of an ongoing international effort to assist African nations to improve maritime safety and security. The security cooperation initiative, now in its fifth year, is aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
The primary mission of the 10th Marine Regiment is to provide artillery support for the division, but during the Marines’ upcoming deployment with APS, most of them will be serving as infantrymen.
“The 240 is a core weapon for any Marine unit,” said 1st Lt. David Cain, the executive officer for Battery T. "When these guys are serving as (artillerymen), they have the 240 on standby with someone always ready to drop into a fighting hole. When these guys are completing their mission during their tour with APS, some of them will be carrying the 240 as their primary weapon."
While training at the range, the Marines re-mastered their skills disassembling and re-assembling the M240-B, as well as the different roles of the machine gun team, gunner and assistant gunner. They then spent several hours sending several thousand rounds downrange, assuring their proficiency with the different properties of the weapon.
“The focus of this training is to ensure that all of these Marines are deployable,” said Cain. "Along with the 240 and other weapons, we'll also be covering squad movements and many of the other (basic) skills they learned while they attended (Marine Combat Training)."
Cain said proficiency in the basic skills of being a Marine, and not just an artilleryman, will help the Marines of his battery face the challenges of changing to a new unit and continue to excel.
“Nobody likes to see a unit they’re proud of disband,” said Guerreiro. “However, I'm more than confident in these Marines' abilities, and I know they’ll be able to adapt to wherever they go, because that is what Marines do.”